Every week, we will present a new game to be nominated for the Diehard GameFAN Hall of Fame and Hall of Shame. These nominations will occur every Monday and Friday, respectively. Our standards are just like the Baseball Hall of Fame: every game will be voted on by members of the staff, and any game that gets 75% of the vote – with a minimum of four votes – will be accepted – or thrown – into their respective Hall.
Game:Evil Dead: Hail to the King
Developer:Heavy Iron Studios
Release Date: 12/17/2000
System Released On: Sega Dreamcast, Sony Playstation, PC
Who Nominated The Game: Alex Lucard
Why Was It Nominated: I try to nominate games that I think my staff has strong feelings about or lesser known but well loved titles (Ala poor old Grim Fandango). In this case I knew several staffers had not only played Evil Dead: Hail to the King, but that they also HATED it. The game was the first title made by Heavy Iron Studios, whose best overall game in the eight years they were around was The Incredibles: Rise of the Underminer. That’s probably not the career high point the company hoped for, but they probably also didn’t expect Hail to the King to be the “they can only get better from here” game that it turned out to be.
On paper, Evil Dead: Hail to the King looked great. Evil Dead license? Check. Bruce Campbell voice acting Ash? Check. Survival horror? Check. A script looked over by Sam Raimi? Check. What could go wrong? Well unfortunately, a lot of things. The game looked awful, played horribly and suffered from design decisions that made the game almost impossible for the average gamer to get through. When you have a one-two punch of constantly respawning enemies that did a lot of damage and some horrible collision/damage detection, the end result was a game that had a lot of Evil Dead fans crying foul and a litany of bad reviews from publications and regular gamers alike. In truth, nearly everything seemed to go wrong with the game. The “taunt” feature that had been touted just turned out to be half a dozen quips recorded by Bruce Campbell that was mainly there to make fanboys titter for a few seconds before they realized that was all they were getting. That’s just one example. Perhaps the biggest problem with the game was simply that Evil Dead fans had been too optimistic since Campbell and Raimi had involvement instead of remembering that licensed are rarely good. In any case, since I know I had heard Matt, Mark and Kennedy spew venom towards this game regularly coupled with the fact I had played it and hated every moment I spent with the game, that we’d at least have four people to discuss the game. With that in mind, I nominated Evil Dead: Hail to the King to see what the end result was.
All in Favour:
Ashe Collins: When I think of some of my favorite movies, Army of Darkness and Evil Dead 2 are high on my list. Unfortunately we’ve gotten one mediocre game and a number of terrible ones set in the Evil Dead world, and this one takes the cake. I can’t honestly think of anything redeemable with this one, which is really sad. Basically made to cash in on the Resident Evil craze, Hail to the King did very little to be entertaining and while giving a low point to start from development wise, that is not something to be proud of.
M.L. Kennedy: This game disappointed me more than any other game I’ve ever encountered. I had to adjust my TV setting to make the game even remotely playable. Even then, the controls were terrible, the enemies re-spawned as soon as they were killed, the layouts were confusing, and the game basically convinced me that life has no meaning and was not worth living.
Alex Lucard: I remember getting the teaser trailer for this game in the Ofifical Dreamcast Magazine. You know, the same one that promised Sakura Wars III was coming to North America? The trailer looked awesome. This was a day one purchase for me. I mean, I loved the movies, I loved that Bruce Campbell was doing the voice work for Ash and I loved the whole idea of this being promoted as “Evil Dead 4.” Unfortunately the end result still remains one of the worst survival horror and/or Dreamcast games ever made.
Enemies were insanely hard to kill and they constantly re-spawned. Controls and collision detection were non-existent. You were punished for exploring instead of rushing through the game. The game looked, sounded and played horribly. It was a massive disappointment to everyone who picked up the game. There’s just nothing good to be said about it.
Mark B.:You’d think this would be an obvious one, right? I mean, it took second place in our thirty two worst horror games of all time list, it’s number five in my list overall of games I’ve played for Playing the Lame, and I’ve certainly not had any pleasant things to say about it whenever it has come up as a topic of conversation. So, you’d think it’d be an easy vote for me to add it to the Hall of Shame, yes?
Not so much.
When it comes down to it:
1.) The game put money in Bruce Campbell’s pocket, and as generally poor as the game is, I’m mostly okay with the game existing for that reason alone,
2.) It’s not the worst Dreamcast game ever released, which is most likely The Ring: Terror’s Realm if I have to pick one in the heat of the moment,
3.) It’s not the worst Playstation game ever released, and I couldn’t even begin to tell you what might be, and
4.) It’s not the worst survival horror game ever released, which I’m confident in saying IS The Ring: Terror’s Realm, though The Grudge comes very close as well.
Really, the only title the game could possibly take is “Worst Evil Dead Game Ever”, and since I’ve never played the Atari game based on the franchise, I can’t even say for certain it merits THAT title. However, I can say with fair certainty that while the game is certainly bad, it’s not bad enough to merit a place in the Hall of Shame, as it’s mostly only bad if you’re an Evil Dead fan, and otherwise forgettable if you’re not.
Result: 3 In Favour, 1 Opposed, 75% Approval = ACCEPTED
Conclusion: Well, Evil Dead: Hail to the King makes it through to become the ninth “successful” entrant into the Diehard GameFAN Hall of Shame. It’s interesting to note that not only is this our second survival horror entry, but both were also licensed properties that people were excited about before they actually you know, played them.
Next Week: We have our first shoot ’em up nomination for the Hall of Shame…and it’s not by me! See you then.